The IT Industry in Belarus: EY’s Perspective
Minsk, 18 April 2017
At the 24th International Specialized Forum on Telecommunications, Information and Bank Technologies (TIBO 2017) EY presented its view of how the IT industry is developing in the Republic of Belarus.
Speaking at the forum, EY Belarus Managing Partner Pavel Laschenko noted that the IT industry has been growing confidently, with exports nearly quadrupling over the last five years to almost USD 900 million. This dynamic pace is indicative of the rapid digital transformation taking place worldwide and demonstrates that any country’s IT industry today is of high strategic importance.
In EY’s view, the IT ecosystem involves ongoing interaction between government, the educational system, IT companies and the market. A large part (over 90%) of the market for Belarus’s IT companies is external and involves exports, but the state retains a strong influence over the industry in the form of local laws regulating the country’s business environment. State support for IT companies, including preferential tax regimes, have helped make these achievements on external markets possible and is also attractive to foreign investors. In the long run, however, such preferences are not enough, and new means of support must be found to stimulate the growth of the IT industry as a whole.
Another key factor is the development of a qualified workforce. Pavel Laschenko said: “The chief assets of companies in the IT industry are their people and knowledge. IT companies need people with higher STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), and such education today is the preserve of state institutions. In the long term, then, the state plays a key role in ensuring an adequate supply of qualified employees for the IT industry, and measures should be taken now to adapt to the industry’s growing needs and improve the quality of education. Training centers of private IT companies and high-tech parks also have an important part to play, but they can only supplement the system of higher education, not replace it.”
Pavel Laschenko says: “Maintaining the IT industry’s dynamic growth is an essential and complex task, requiring an effective dialog between business and government. Because there are no common plans of action, actors in the ecosystem may pull in different directions, and, individually, their efforts may not be enough to improve the situation. We thus believe that a long-term strategy and development programs are essential for the industry’s development and forward-looking decisions.”
In EY’s view, such a strategy should include:
- The regulatory environment: maintaining current conditions and creating new mechanisms for IT industry development
- Forecasting the IT industry’s labor needs and adapting admissions to educational institutions
- Enhancing the quality of the educational system (from elementary school to university graduation)
Pavel Laschenko stressed that, to maintain dynamic growth, the IT industry needs both strategy and a leader, an influential and technically competent professional who will inspire confidence, lead the industry’s development, maintain a constructive dialog between government and business and promote Belarus’s IT industry internationally.
EY is currently preparing a study of the IT industry in Belarus. The findings, in the form of a detailed report in English, will be EY’s contribution to raising the world’s awareness of what the IT industry in Belarus is achieving.
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The firm has been active in the CIS since 1989. Currently, 4,500 professionals work at 20 offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Togliatti, Almaty, Astana, Atyrau, Bishkek, Baku, Kyiv, Tashkent, Tbilisi, Yerevan and Minsk. EY opened its doors in Belarus in 1994 and is today the country’s largest international provider of professional business services. The firm’s clients include major companies and banks based in Belarus and around the world. Since 2010 EY has been a member of the Coordinating Council for the Harmonization of Belarus Law with IFRS, and since 2004 it has been the official advisor of the National Bank of Belarus for the introduction of IFRS in the country’s banking sector. The firm has acted as the coordinator of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council under the auspices of the Government of Belarus since 2001. EY Belarus has a staff of over 350 professionals.
EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.